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How to BBQ for a crowd

Catering for a crowd on a barbecue can be tricky, especially if you've got limited space on your grill. We've put together the ultimate guide to barbecuing for a crowd, including top tips from Tesco chef Jamie Robinson on how to pull off a feast without a hitch.

  1. What's the right amount to BBQ?

    Knowing how much each person needs at a big barbecue can be tricky. As a general rule, you'll need to buy enough burgers for each guest to have one each, two sausages, and two scoops of salad or coleslaw. The Tesco Fire Pit 12 beef burger pack is perfect for feeding a crowd. You'll also need to make sure everyone's got a Fire Pit brioche bun for their burgers and sausages.

    What's the right amount to BBQ?
  2. When should I light the BBQ?

    You should leave yourself plenty of time to get the barbecue going before you want to eat. Tesco chef Jamie says: "Light the barbecue around an hour before you would like to cook. I like to let mine get nice and glowing before I start to get things grilling."

  3. How do I know when the BBQ is ready?

    Getting your barbecue to the perfect cooking point is essential for getting the best out of your menu. Jamie says the coals need to be all red and glowing before you start cooking, and all the fire needs to have died down. "I prefer my coals to be over the peak of heat and starting to cool slightly so I can cook a little lower and slower," he says. Jamie also says he likes to stack his coals for optimal barbecue cooking: "I also like to stack my coals to one side on my barbecue so I have a hotter zone, this way as things are cooking I can move them across onto the slightly cooler area to stop them over cooking or drying out."

    How do I know when the BBQ is ready?
  4. How do I get my meat perfectly cooked?

    No-one likes a burnt burger, so one of the best ways to ensure your meat doesn't over-char or dry out is to cook when the barbecue has just past it's hottest point. Jamie says keeping a meat probe handy is also a great way to make sure everything is cooked through. He also says: "I like to rest all of my meat for around 15 mins after taking off the barbecue to make sure it's nice and juicy and never tough." Meat cuts like the Tesco Fire Pit salt & pepper thin cut beef steak will only take a few minutes on each side, so keep a timer on hand to make sure you're not over-cooking things.

  5. What's the best way to cut down time prepping?

    Using pre-made kebabs like the Tesco Fire Pit grilling cheese and vegetable kebabs is a great way to cut down on prep time and avoid any fiddling pre-barbecue tasks in the lead up to the big event. Simply drizzle in a Tesco Fire Pit sweet, spicy or smoky marinade and grill to perfection on a hot barbecue.

    What's the best way to cut down time prepping?
  6. What order should I cook things in?

    When you're cooking for a crowd, you can't always fit everything on the barbecue at once, so you'll need to have a plan of action for the order you'll cook things in. Jamie says it's best to always start with the largest items that take the most time to cook, and anything you want nice char lines on. "I always start with the largest items first and then as I mentioned earlier, I like to move things across to the slightly cooler area of the grill to cook slightly lower and slower and avoid burning the outside," he says. "I also like to char my veg first and then rest it while cooking my meat. Then right before I serve pop the veggies back on to warm through."

    What order should I cook things in?
  7. Should I pre-cook my meat?

    If you're cooking for a lot of people, it can be much easier to pre-cook meat and just finish it off on the barbecue. This is also a great way to make sure all meat is cooked through and safe to eat. You can cook your things like these Tesco Fire Pit jumbo pork sausages through in the oven and toss them on the barbecue for 5 minutes to char up and get lots of nice smoky flavour.

    Should I pre-cook my meat?
  8. Can I cook directly on the coals?

    Yes - you can cook on the coals, and it's a great way to make the most of the space on your barbecue if you're cooking for a crowd. Try wrapping corn from the Tesco Fire Pit sweetcorn & butter steamer in foil and tucking them into the coals, or filling a sieve with cherry tomatoes and letting them slow-cook under the grilling meats.

    Can I cook directly on the coals?
  9. What are the best BBQ sides?

    Good sides are essential to any barbecue, especially if you're catering for a lot of people. You can bulk out whatever's grilling with sides like the Tesco Fire Pit garlic & herb coleslaw or spiced butternut squash. To really impress your guests, try pairing up the flavours of your sides with whatever's on the grill, like serving the Tesco Fire Pit tangy white pickled slaw alongside the salt & chilli pork belly slices.

  10. What are the best things to make ahead?

    Planning ahead is the best way to make sure everyone at your barbecue bash is well fed. Make-ahead marinades like the Tesco Fire Pit the smoky one marinade will help save time prepping and adds loads of extra flavour to meat and vegetables before grilling. For dessert, Jamie recommends these peach melba pots as the perfect easy pudding.

    What are the best things to make ahead?